All of my teacher friends in Texas went back to work yesterday to start the first day of the school year. This was the first day in 4 years that I did not get to be a part of that first day. Although I made that choice, it was still hard to see everyone going back to their newly decorated classrooms to greet a bubbly new bunch of students.
You may not know this, but the first day (and really the whole first week) of school is the absolute best! You get to meet all the new little lives that you get to pour into and love for the rest of the school year. They are usually pretty excited and on their best behavior (so usually no major behavior problems at this time). It’s a week full of “getting to know you” games, and routines and procedures, building trust, reading books, having fun, and getting them excited for a new year of learning.
If someone came up to you and asked you to quit your job could you do it? Would you do it?
If someone asked me this question 4 years ago, back before I got married and had just started my teaching career, I would have responded “Oh, yes. Of course. Quit my job? Easy. No problem. Where do I sign up.” Yet, for some reason, this time when the question was posed to me, it was not as easy to say “yes” as I had once thought.
This got me thinking…why is it so hard to quit your job?
Up until this school year, I was a first grade teacher. That had been my identity for the last 8 years, essentially my entire adult life. That’s what I went to school to become. I got both my bachelors and masters degree in elementary education. And I loved it. I truly love teaching with all of my heart. I love getting to pour into children everyday at an age where they are so moldable and influential. Giving that up for a year was one of the most difficult choices I ever made. So you’re probably wondering why I quit.
It started with my husband asking me in January, to quit and take a year off teaching. He knows that I love it, but he also knows that I’ve worked nonstop every year since I was 17 when I decided to graduate high school early. Every summer, every winter, every spring break, every school year, I’ve gone hard after my career without a break. He saw how that was wearing on me and wanted to offer me a year off. He was offering me a year to rest, to breathe, and to pursue the many other passions God has put in me. I just had to get over the fear of not having a job or a “purpose” for the first time in my life, and take a leap of faith for myself.
I feel like there are too many times that we limit ourselves to that one thing we think we are good at, because it’s the one thing we’ve always done and we never allow ourselves the opportunity to explore the other avenues in life. Why do we do that to ourselves? Why do we let fear dictate who we are and what we can become?
The majority of us will change not just jobs, but career paths a few times throughout our lives. And more likely than not, will be nervous about it at some point during the process. Consequently, you are giving up the known to pursue the unknown. So, regardless of weather you love or hate your current career, it can still be scary to give it up. But sometimes in life, you have to just quit what is not working in order to make a transformational change.
I read a quote once that said “don’t fear failure so much that you refuse to try new things. The saddest summary of life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have.” How many times have you said those words, shoulda, coulda, woulda. I get it though, being in the unknown can be scary. Fear and love tend to be the two emotions that drive each thought and decision in our lives, especially the big ones. But what if we try and replace that fear with the love and desire for that passion you are pursuing? You obviously can’t stop thinking about it for a reason.
While it is scary, it is also exciting. This year I get to explore a whole new kind of “classroom”. I get to go from teaching in one school, to now learning in another. The world gets to be my classroom and I cannot wait to discover it and learn more about who I am and what I can do to influence it. When we dwell too much on the specifics, we often begin to restrict ourselves into believing that we are only capable of that one purpose, that one “dream” job, that one passion we will one day have. For me, today is that “one day.” When will your “one day” begin?
“Life is too short and far too precious to waste time going through the safe motions that distract us from what will really bring us joy.”
What is that thing that you’re really want to to go after but just can’t seem to get to? What’s keeping you from taking that leap of faith and fulfilling your purpose?